DISCOVERY, the largest industry-led quantum computing project in the UK, was announced by nine major organisations. It is a £10 million programme to address commercial quantum computing and what makes it unfeasible now. UK Quantum Technologies Challenge, led by UK Research and Innovation, is partially funding the programme.
M Squared, already a supplier of photonics and quantum systems globally, will lead eight partners and coordinate DISCOVERY. These partners are leaders in their fields, such as neutral atom, ion trap, and optical qubit quantum computing. The consortium includes startups, incumbent businesses, academic institutions, and R&D organisations with strong records in quantum computing hardware development. They also have the capabilities and expertise to go past the barriers to commercial quantum computing.
Set for three years, the project is now underway due to the successful bid into Innovate UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund call ‘Commercialising Quantum Technology: Technology Projects Round 1’. The partners including M Squared, Oxford Ionics, ORCA Computing, Kelvin Nanotechnology, and TMD Technologies will work closely with the Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde and Oxford, as well as the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).
Currently, there are a few potentially viable approaches to commercially viable quantum computing, and DISCOVERY will address three of the most effective ones: neutral atom, ion trap, and optical qubits. These will require cutting-edge hardware, though increasing qubit fidelity and qubit scalability remain obstacles to commercialisaiton. The programme will demonstrate a change from only academic activity to scalable and commercial implementations.
DISCOVERY is also developing the wider UK quantum computing sector by supporting the establishment of commercial quantum hardware supply and deploying these technologies in the industry. The partners have valuable experience in this sector and can show the portfolios of their accomplishments.
‘This investment comes under the umbrella of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme which is set to make a £1B investment over its lifetime. The Discovery team exemplifies the vibrant ecosystem which is a hallmark of the UK quantum sector and its technical expertise – which is impressive – is well matched with commercial nous and in-depth market knowledge.’Roger McKinlay, Challenge Director for the Quantum Technologies Challenge
‘The DISCOVERY project will help the UK establish itself at the forefront of commercially viable photonics-enabled quantum-computing approaches. It will enable industry to capitalise on the government’s early investment into quantum technology and build on our strong academic heritage in photonics and quantum information. The coming era of quantum technology will play a major, transformative role in both the economy and society alike. It is therefore critical that the UK leverages its expertise in science, research and advanced industry to come together and make progress in commercial applications.’Dr Graeme Malcolm OBE, CEO and founder of M Squared
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